Posted on: February 20, 2013

Finally; World Champion Anand wins after five years!

By Ravi Kumar

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Finally; World Champion Anand wins after five years!

“I need to work on my technique.” This was the reaction that came from five-time World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, which reflected his rediscovered hunger for success.

On Sunday, the 43-year-old chalked out an enticing 49-move win with black pieces against Arkadij Naidistch to win the Grenke Chess Classic for his first all-play-all tournament-title in nearly five years.

Anand last emerged victorious in March 2008, at Linares, by topping an eight-player field with 8.5 points, ahead of the current World number one Magnus Calrsen, Levon Aronian and Veselin Topalov.

In fact, the year 2013 so far has been a prosperous one for Anand. In January, he completed third in the reputed Tata Steel at Wijk aan Zee even after losing the final round to China’s Wang Hao. More specifically, the fortnight saw Anand get over Aronian and young Italian Fabiano Caruana, both rated higher in world rankings.

Even though Anand has been the undisputed World champion since 2008, his results in tournaments have left much to be desired. If one takes a peek at Anand’s performances, specifically in classical time format the past 15 months, one is forced to think whether age has finally slowed down the champion.

As Anand admitted on Sunday, “after Bilbao 2011 (in Grand Slam Masters Final) my big problem was getting interesting positions where I had chances. This year the new problem has been exploiting those chances — against (Daniel) Fridman here, Hou Yifan in Wijk aan Zee or last year against Nakamura and (Michael) Adams at the London Chess Classic — and I’ve been gifting people half points. If it wasn’t for that my results would be much better. Still, it’s a hundred times better to have the second problem.”

Anand began the year in a terrible manner at a rating of 2772 — his lowest since April 2004 when he was touched 2774. Following his current success, Anand has bettered it to 2784 but stays at sixth in world rankings.

All these factors will reflect the future performance of this prolific player in the future for sure. This will offer him enough time in getting along with performances in a perfect manner.

Looking back, Anand picks his second-place performance in the 2011 Tata Steel as a fairly successful one. “After that basically I went over a cliff and the next five tournaments were pretty awful,” accepted Anand.

Anand, among the top-10 list of world rankings since July 1991, had said in December last year, that he was interested to arrest his slide in world rankings. In the two events since then, he seems well on track.

What makes Anand’s success title-win special is the manner in which he signed off with two wins to take his unheralded run past Caruana who led till the final round. Anand was apparently helped by the ninth-round loss of Caruna who missed a victory in the 10th. This shows the kind of Anand enjoys on the field. Famously known as Vishy to his close friends, this victory is something special that the Chennai sportsperson must have been eagerly waiting for.

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